Maruti Suzuki S-Presso First-Drive Review: Is It A Mini SUV?
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso is what the company calls a “mini SUV”. Its name is pronounced like the coffee and it’s targeted at millennial buyers looking for an entry-level SUV. But is it anything more than just a small car that has been raised?
It competes with the Renault Kwid and is based on an adaptation of Suzuki’s Heartect K platform that’s used for its small cars in Japan. It comes in automatic and manual transmission variants with prices ranging between Rs 3.69 lakh and Rs 4.91 lakh ex-showroom.
The Quint was invited to Jodhpur in early October to drive this small car from Maruti. Here is our first impression on the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso.
What We Like
- High ground clearance tackles bad roads easily
- Peppy 1-litre K-Series engine feels good
- Auto-gear shift (AMT) is one of the smoothest units around
What We Don’t Like
- Styling feels disproportionate, will draw mixed reactions
- Lack of features like a tachometer and day-night mirror
- Feels unsure at high speeds, better suited to city use only
Maruti Suzuki S-Presso Design
First a quick note about the design. It has that boxy SUV-inspired styling with a Brezza-like front grille and tall bonnet. At the rear too, the vehicle looks raised, with a separate bumper element adding to the height. It has a healthy 180 mm of ground clearance. But frankly, the looks will take a little getting used to.
It doesn’t come standard with alloy wheels or daytime running lamps. All these can be bought as accessories for the S-Presso.
Driving The Maruti Suzuki S-Presso
I got a chance to drive the manual as well as the automated manual transmission variants of the S-Presso. First up, I took the manual transmission variant from Jodhpur to Khimsar in Rajasthan.
The K-Series 1-litre engine is also there in the Alto K10 and that car is a pocket rocket. How is it in the S-Presso? Well, it’s no different. The initial pick up is good. Pretty good for the city, but once you get past 100 Kmph it tends to bounce around a bit because it is light. The tall stance doesn’t help much either.
Now I also got to drive the automated manual transmission variant on the trip back from Khimsar to Jodhpur. I am generally not a fan of AMTs because you get that head-nod and they are not that quick to shift. But this S-Presso’s AMT is quite surprising. In fact, I would prefer the AMT over the manual because it is just so convenient.
You can drive in D mode and when you step on the accelerator it downshifts and picks up easily. Or I could just get into manual mode, where there’s hardly any delay in shifts. It’s rival the Renault Kwid does not have a manual mode on its AMT variant.
So how does the S-Presso compare to its main rival the Renault Kwid? Well, this is a little taller than the Kwid so you do get that feeling of a commanding driving position. But at the end of the day it is a small car, make no mistake about that.
Maruti S-Presso Features
The instrumentation on the S-Presso is fairly basic. You get this funky instrument console with the infotainment system and instrument panel and a large digital speedometer. But what it lacks is a tachometer. That’s something I’m used to. You do get a gear change indicator which tells you when its time to shift up. Other than that fairly basic.
The steering-mounted audio controls for the infotainment system work nicely and offer good feel. It has Android Auto and Apple Car Play and this is a full touch infotainment system.
With the driver’s seat adjusted for a 5’8” driver like me, there is more than enough space in the back seat. Yes, it is a tall-boy design. I have enough headroom, but for taller passengers there might be a problem. Legroom is more than adequate and I can stretch out. However, it’s not that wide. So it can only seat two people comfortably, but for a third person it is going to be a bit of a squeeze.
The Maruti S-Presso has a 240-litre boot, with enough space for your weekend luggage. It’s quite deep so you have enough space to put in a couple of bags.
Maruti S-Presso: What We Think
So that’s the Maruti Suzuki S-Presso for you. It’s a vehicle that Maruti calls a mini SUV. Which variant do I like? The automatic gear shift or manual transmission?
Personally, I prefer the automatic for city driving conditions. However, there are a few things that Maruti could have added to this to make it a little more appealing especially for a car that costs over Rs 5 lakh on road. Things like a tachometer, a day-night mirror and perhaps a rear wiper. These little additions would go a long way.